How to Win at Email Design

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Below is an interview with Mike Smith, the art director for Aweber (the email marketing service I use for JUST Creative) and he has answered a few common questions on email design.

On a side note, if you’ve designed a great email newsletter, enter it into EmailMonks’ free newsletter competition and win your share of $10k in prizes.

1. How can using a consistent template build brand trust?

Templates are beneficial for many reasons, but specific to your customers, a consistent template design helps to establish expectations. A consistent template makes the cognitive load on subscribers lighter because they see a recognizable structure and aesthetic. This minor mental trigger builds a subconscious trust with readers which goes a long way to making your brand stronger.

2. What are the best colors and placements for CTAs in emails?

The best way to know how subscribers will respond is through testing, but here are some tips we’ve learned with our own testing. If you can place a link or button just under a header image or headline we’ve seen marked increases in the click through.

When it comes to color, matching your brand is important but so is contrast. The higher the contrast between a button and the background it sits on the more actionable it will appear.

3. How much do I really need to change on the template to make it unique?

Aweber Email Template

The templates in your email provider have been designed to make your life easier. If you only change the colors and logo that is sufficient enough to make a well designed email. No need to go crazy with changing all the elements just to “make it your own”.

The templates are also created to be flexible so adding additional images and content should be easy to make work within the constraints the email designer created for that specific template.

4. Should my template match my website?

Aweber Website vs Email

It’s a big challenge to match an email and web experience 1 to 1. The use cases for each are quite different so there isn’t a point in beating yourself up to make it perfectly match. The important elements of your site–fonts, colors, logos, image styles– are enough to make the two coexist.

Think about your email in the way that old school correspondence kits were designed. Your business card and letterhead don’t look identical, because they have different purposes. But they did obviously live as part of the same brand. That is the same logic that applies to a website and email template, similar but designed with the medium’s intent in mind.

5. Should design or content come first when thinking about creating an email newsletter?

A flexible email template design should allow for all types of content.

6. What are fun and unique ways to make your email stand out from other brands?

Let your personality shine! This doesn’t have to be through witty copy or flashy GIFs but it could be. Whatever you do make it true to you. Every person and brand are a unique mix of their history, their convictions, and their personality. Allow that to come through in your design decision making, don’t focus on “being different”.

7. What’s the number one mistake you see marketers make in email designs?

Don't be fancy

Trying to be fancy. Clip art images, crazy fonts or font colors, or whacky layouts aren’t necessary. Drive home the value every time you send an email and subscribers will want to hear from you. Don’t put a bunch of silly distractions in the way of getting to the value!

Win at Email Design: Video Series

Mike Smith has been working on a series of videos about email design. Below is the first video which teaches you how to design an awesome welcome email, focusing on the principles of brand aesthetics, setting expectations and showing humanity.


A Front End Developer’s Guide to GraphQL

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No matter how large or small your application is, you’ll have to deal with fetching data from a remote server at some point. On the front end, this usually involves hitting a REST endpoint, transforming the response, caching it, and updating your UI. For years, REST has been the status quo for APIs, but over the past year, a new API technology called GraphQL has exploded in popularity due to its excellent developer experience and declarative approach to data fetching.

In this post, we’ll walk through a couple of hands-on examples to show you how integrating GraphQL into your application will solve many pain points working with remote data. If you’re new to GraphQL, don’t panic! I’ll also highlight some resources to help you learn GraphQL using the Apollo stack, so you can start off 2018 ahead of the curve.

GraphQL 101

Before we dive into how GraphQL makes your life as a front end developer easier, we should first clarify what it is. When we talk about GraphQL, we’re either referring to the language itself or its rich ecosystem of tools. At its core, GraphQL is a typed query language developed by Facebook that allows you to describe your data requirements in a declarative way. The shape of your result matches the shape of your query: in the example below, we can expect to receive back an object with a currency property and a rates property containing an array of objects with both currency and rate keys.

rates(currency: “USD”) {
rates {

When we talk about GraphQL in a broader sense, we’re often referring to the ecosystem of tools that help you implement GraphQL in your application. On the backend, you’ll use Apollo Server to create a GraphQL server, which is a single endpoint that parses a GraphQL request and returns data. How does the server know which data to return? You’ll use GraphQL Tools to build a schema (like a blueprint for your data) and a resolver map (just a series of functions that retrieve your data from a REST endpoint, database, or wherever else you choose).

This all sounds more complicated than it actually is — with Apollo Launchpad, a GraphQL server playground, you can create a working GraphQL server in your browser in less than 60 lines of code! 😮 We’ll reference this Launchpad I created that wraps the Coinbase API throughout this post.

You’ll connect your GraphQL server to your application with Apollo Client, a fast and flexible client that fetches, caches, and updates your data for you. Since Apollo Client isn’t coupled to your view layer, you can use it with React, Angular, Vue, or plain JavaScript. Not only is Apollo cross-framework, it’s also cross-platform, with React Native & Ionic supported out of the box.

Let’s give it a try! 🚀

Now that you’re well-versed in what GraphQL is, let’s get our hands dirty with a couple of practical examples that illustrate what it’s like to develop your front end with Apollo. By the end, I think you’ll be convinced that a GraphQL-based architecture with Apollo can help you ship features faster than before.

1. Add new data requirements without adding a new endpoint

We’ve all been here before: You spend hours building a perfect UI component when suddenly, product requirements change. You quickly realize that the data you need to fulfill these new requirements would either require a complicated waterfall of API requests or worse, a new REST endpoint. Now blocked on your work, you ask the backend team to build you a new endpoint just to satisfy the data needs for one component.

This common frustration no longer exists with GraphQL because the data you consume on the client is no longer coupled to an endpoint’s resource. Instead, you always hit the same endpoint for your GraphQL server. Your server specifies all of the resources it has available via your schema and lets your query determine the shape of the result. Let’s illustrate these concepts using our Launchpad from before:

In our schema, look at lines 22–26 where we define our ExchangeRate type. These fields list out all the available resources we can query in our application.

type ExchangeRate {
currency: String
rate: String
name: String

With REST, you’re limited to the data your resource provides. If your /exchange-rates endpoint doesn’t include name, then you’ll need to either hit a different endpoint like /currency for the data or create it if it doesn’t exist.

With GraphQL, we know that name is already available to us by inspecting our schema, so we can query for it in our application. Try running this example in Launchpad by adding the name field on the right side panel!

rates(currency: “USD”) {
rates {

Now, remove the name field and run the same query. See how the shape of our result changes?

the data changes as you describe your query differently

Your GraphQL server always gives you back exactly the data you ask for. Nothing more. This differs significantly from REST, where you often have to filter and transform the data you get back from the server into the shape your UI components need. Not only does this save you time, it also results in smaller network payloads and CPU savings from loading and parsing the response.

2. Reduce your state management boilerplate

Fetching data almost always involves updating your application’s state. Typically, you’ll write code to track at least three actions: one for when the data is loading, one if the data successfully arrives, and one if the data errors out. Once the data arrives, you have to transform it into the shape your UI components expect, normalize it, cache it, and update your UI. This process can be repetitive, requiring countless lines of boilerplate to execute one request.

Let’s see how Apollo Client eliminates this tiresome process altogether by looking at an example React app in CodeSandbox. Navigate to `list.js` and scroll to the bottom.

export default graphql(ExchangeRateQuery, {
props: ({ data }) => {
if (data.loading) {
return { loading: data.loading };
if (data.error) {
return { error: data.error };
return {
loading: false,
rates: data.rates.rates

In this example, React Apollo, Apollo Client’s React integration, is binding our exchange rate query to our ExchangeRateList component. Once Apollo Client executes that query, it tracks loading and error state automatically and adds it to the data prop. When Apollo Client receives the result, it will update the data prop with the result of the query, which will update your UI with the rates it needs to render.

Under the hood, Apollo Client normalizes and caches your data for you. Try clicking some of the currencies in the panel on the right to watch the data refresh. Now, select a currency a second time. Notice how the data appears instantaneously? That’s the Apollo cache at work! You get all of this for free just by setting up Apollo Client with no additional configuration. 😍 To see the code where we initialize Apollo Client, check out `index.js`.

3. Debug quickly & painlessly with Apollo DevTools & GraphiQL

It looks like Apollo Client does a lot for you! How do we peek inside to understand what’s going on? With features like store inspection and full visibility into your queries & mutations, Apollo DevTools not only answers that question, but also makes debugging painless and, dare I say it, fun! 🎉 It’s available as an extension for both Chrome and Firefox, with React Native coming soon.

If you want to follow along, install Apollo DevTools for your preferred browser and navigate to our CodeSandbox from the previous example. You’ll need to run the example locally by clicking Download in the top nav bar, unzipping the file, running npm install, and finally npm start. Once you open up your browser’s dev tools panel, you should see a tab that says Apollo.

First, let’s check out our store inspector. This tab mirrors what’s currently in your Apollo Client cache, making it easy to confirm your data is stored on the client properly.

store inspector

Apollo DevTools also enables you to test your queries & mutations in GraphiQL, an interactive query editor and documentation explorer. In fact, you already used GraphiQL in the first example where we experimented with adding fields to our query. To recap, GraphiQL features auto-complete as you type your query into the editor and automatically generated documentation based on GraphQL’s type system. It’s extremely useful for exploring your schema, with zero maintenance burden for developers.

Apollo Devtools

Try executing queries with GraphiQL in the right side panel of our Launchpad. To show the documentation explorer, you can hover over fields in the query editor and click on the tooltip. If your query runs successfully in GraphiQL, you can be 100% positive that the same query will run successfully in your application.

Level up your GraphQL skills

If you made it to this point, awesome job! 👏 I hope you enjoyed the exercises and got a taste of what it would be like to work with GraphQL on the front end.

Hungry for more? 🌮 Make it your 2018 New Year’s resolution to learn more about GraphQL, as I expect its popularity to grow even more in the upcoming year. Here’s an example app to get you started featuring the concepts we learned today:

Angular (Ionic):

Go forth and GraphQL (and be sure to tag us on Twitter @apollographql along the way)! 🚀

A Front End Developer’s Guide to GraphQL is a post from CSS-Tricks

20 Famous Animated Logos for Your Inspiration

Original Source:

This article was contributed by Anil Parmar.

Looking for logo animation ideas? You’ve come to the right place.

Animated logos have the power to draw attention and communicate messages in ways that a static logo can not. Get inspired by these 20 famous animated logo designs.


Amazon Logo Animation

The Amazon logo not only delivers a smile but it also depicts that they sell everything from A to Z.


Define the services you provide in the logo itself.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Logo Animation

The well-known browser shows a fiery fox encircling the earth conveying its global reach around the entire world. The fox represents the blazing speed of the browser.


Convey your brand’s values within the logo. eg. speed


Google Logo Animation

This name needs no introduction. The animation demonstrates the Google Speak Now functionality in the brand’s colors.


Use color and motion to convey your brand in its simplest form.


Intel Logo Animation

Intel is the world’s best commercial microprocessor chip making company. The logo conveys this, showing that it makes processors for tablets, computers and mobile phones.


Make your animation show your unique selling point, such as Intel’s chips.


Burger King Logo Animation

The Burger King logo is animated in piece by piece, in a 3D manner.


Consider giving dimension to your logo animation.


FedEx Logo Animation

A well known courier delivery service uses the arrow for demonstrating its service.


Use your logo’s key feature / negative space to convey motion.

Hype Film

Hype Logo Animation

Hype film is a production company and camera film revolves around a loudspeaker to spell HYPE.


Don’t be afraid to add new elements to the logo animation sequence such as how HYPE uses film to build their loudspeaker.


Pixate Logo Animation 

Pixate runs mobile app prototypes and the black background with four colorful leaves shows the creative side of the app.


Speed is crucial in animation, making for a smooth animation.

Nat Geo

National Geographic Logo Animation

The National Geographic’s famous yellow border is broken up and brought in piece by piece.


Don’t be afraid to split your logo into separate pieces for the animation.

Mail Chimp Snap

Mailchimp Snap Logo Animation

Send simple email newsletters from your mobile. (now discontinued)


Build your logo up, with dimension.


Fanta Animated Logo

The bubbly fun nature of the type and orange circle shape is brought to life with animation.


Use your logo’s key attritbutes for the animation such as the type and orange circle in this case.


Uber Animated Logo

Building on the line ways points of a map, it creates a nice sequence to reveal the logo.


Use elements from your app or brand for the animation.



The professional network connects business people all over the world, which is conveyed by the bouncy man and case.


Business can also be fun!


Instagram Animated Logo

The photo sharing app owned by Facebook combines the traditional camera and polaroid to form their text based logo.


Illustrate your brand’s key features and then the logo itself.


Vimeo Animated Logo

Vimeo’s video sharing platform uses video buttons such as play, pause to illustrate their service.


Make the logo functional and leave subtle hints to the brand.

Master Card

Mastercard Animated Logo

Mastercard illustrate’s its multifaceted uses such as experiences, travel and food. Priceless.


Show how diverse your product is by illustrating various elements.


Dell Animated Logo

Dell’s high-performance laptops  and PCS are illustrated by 4 icons coming together. The ultimate collaboration of security, handling documents, analytics and cloud storage.


Depict the most effective characteristics of the product you supply to your customers.


Spotify Animated Logo

Get instant access to millions of songs with Spotify.


Pick the logical part from the service/product and give it motion.


Pinterest Animated Logo

The logo in the animation shows a pin / P followed by written text ‘Pinterest’, a platform to discover information globally, by images.


A single symbol can show the entire motive of the brand and its identity.


Flickr is one of the most significant platforms for sharing videos and photos. The logo conveys a world of creativity and inspiration.


A simple idea is often the most effective. Two dots can evolve into something so large!


Nike Animated Logo

The Nike Swoosh animated with bright vivid paint, highlighting the active nature of the swoosh.


If your logo already has motion, use it to its advantage.

Do you have any other favorite famous animated logos? Let us know!

Anil Parmar is the co-founder of Glorywebs that aims to help clients with professional web design services, app design & development, digital marketing and more. Find him on Twitter @abparmar99.

20 Free Portfolio Themes for WordPress to Download

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As a designer, the best way to showcase your work is an online portfolio. An online portfolio is a proof of your expertise, experience, and skills. A portfolio site helps your potential clients to look at your advantages over other creatives out there.

The best and the easiest way to create a portfolio today is to use a creative free portfolio theme for WordPress. We decided to make this task more comfortable for you and collected 20 amazing free portfolio themes which you can customize and use.

1. Portfolio Gallery theme


2. Minimalist Portfolio


3. Adventure Lite


4. TheMoments


5. panoply theme


6. Hestia theme


7. Zyloplus


8. Shapely


9. Eight Sec


10. Seguente


11. Business Press


12. Vega


13. Revolve


14. Coral Drive


15. Hitchcock


16. Coral Dark


17. Pinnacle


18. AccessPress Parallax


19. Pure & Simple


20. Innovation Lite


Read More at 20 Free Portfolio Themes for WordPress to Download

Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

Original Source:

This article was contributed by Krzysztof Gilowski.

Although the recipe for a perfect logo does not exist, the knowledge of the features that distinguish legendary designs from the average ones, will allow you to get closer to greatness.

In this article you will get to know the rules that underlie the designs of some of the most valuable brands in the world.

Recognizability is everything

The best logo designs communicate the whole brand image in no time. Lego embodies the joy of children playing with toys. The Mercedes’ logo expresses luxury with an elegant typeface and a geometric abstract symbol.

lego mercedes logo

The most famous logos have a story to tell and that makes them unique.

Simplicity is the key to success

Less is more

What do the  world’s most recognizable logos have in common? The McDonald’s “M”, Nike’s swoosh, or the Apple’s apple with a bite (or byte) taken out of it? They are all extremely simple.

“The only mandate in logo design is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.”

-Paul Rand

A good logo is original, but it is not exaggerated. An extremely complex logotype will not make your brand look sophisticated. It will only mean that the designer did not understand the meaning of simplicity.

Versatility – saving your nerves and money

Adapting Logos

A logo should present itself well in every possible format: small and large; in black and white (positive / negative); vertically and horizontally. It must be equally effective displayed on a variety of media – smartphones, tablets, computer screens and printed advertising.

Make sure the logo is recognizable after reversing the colors and decreasing the size. Check out how it looks on a stamp and on a truck. Don’t be afraid to make different versions of your logo (aka responsive logos).

A good logo must be timeless

The most beautiful and effective logo is not based on the current trends in the market. These are timeless pieces of work. Their authors, thanks to their experience in design, can predict whether the logo will still be valid in 10, 20 or 50 years.

The BMW’s logo is an example of such a graphic sign. The original logo was designed in 1916 and has changed very little ever since. The style keeps being altered according to the era but the concept remains the same. See more logo evolutions here.

BMW Logo Evolution

6 rules followed by logo designers

Start with black and white

Fitucci Custom Windows Doors Logo

In the early stages of the design the colors are of secondary importance. Moreover, they can draw people’s attention away from the logo itself. Most of the recognizable logos start with black and white drawings and sketches.

Use three colors at most

Examples of valuable logos that would break this rule are rare. Do not try to make an exception here – reality shows that it does not pay off. Paradoxically, a timeless logo that would be memorable is very simple and minimal colors.

Use the right colors depending on the mood you want to create. Learn color psychology.

Color in Logos

Use one or two fonts

To keep your logo clear and transparent, you may want to limit your design to one or two types of fonts. Depending on the nature of your business, use fonts with sharp or soft lines. See here for great font combinations.

Choose practicality over originality

Your logo has to be easily remembered. Accept the principle that a graphic design should be easy to describe on the phone.

A good logo should be easy to describe on the phone.

Something that will stay in someone’s memory should not be very complicated. Always choose practicality over originality.

Below you can see a case study of 1500 people attempting to draw logos from memory. It’s difficult!

Hand drawn logos from memory

Avoid unnecessary details

Remove anything that is unnecessary from your design. The ideal logo is not the one that cannot have anything added to it. The best one is the one that cannot have a single element removed from it.

Do not use ready-made graphics

Under no circumstances, create a logo with ready-made items (stock graphics, cliparts, pre-made designs). Creating your logo from ready-made templates and pictures makes your logo non-unique and replicable. Not to mention that a part of your logo may be legally used in your competitors’ graphics.

Stock Logos No

4 major characteristics of projects that lack professionalism

If you are looking for a logo design, the following tips will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your designer’s work.

Materials full of defects

The files with logo designs that you receive from your designer should not contain any technical imperfections. The curves should not overlap and should be as smooth as possible and the nodal points should be minimized. If the logo is symmetrical, then the symmetry should be perfect such as below.

Remember that the presentation of a logotype in a different scale, such as zooming and placing it on a truck, will expose all of its possible errors and defects.

Below is a logo by that has been designed by Jeroen van Eerden with a grid system to avoid these defects.

Zen Logo

Monogram as a starting point

An inexperienced designer often cannot resist the temptation to create a logo based on the company’s initials (for example, the name “Great Company” would create the logo form ‘G’ and ‘C’).

While this seems like a good idea, it’s hard to build company’s credibility or convey branding information with that kind of logo. It’s quite common in the fashion industry although they have huge marketing budgets. Monograms do not work for all industries.

Monogram Logos

Shortening the name to acronym

It is often a mistake to try to shorten the name of a new company to acronym size. Yes, this is an effective strategy, as demonstrated by the IBM’s, KFC’s, or AOL’s logos. However, the names of these companies became acronyms only after many years of market presence and costly exposure.

Using graphics programs does not guarantee quality

A logo created in Photoshop or Gimp may not be usable when you want to engrave it or significantly enlarge it. A professional logo should look just as good on different devices, but a raster logo (presenting the image with a pixel grid) does not assure that effect.

A vector logo (which defines points mathematically) created in software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw will provide appropriate image reproduction on any scale – without the loss of quality.

Do you have any further logo design tips or mistakes to avoid?

About the author: Krzysztof Gilowski is CEO at Juicy – a company that creates memorable brands for small companies. Check out their guide on designing a restaurant logo on their blog.

Easy CSS Animation With Transition & Transforms

Original Source:

Recently, I walked you through how to create a simple landing page that used a couple different CSS animation techniques. “Animation” is a loose term, in web design usually referring to anything that involves movement. CSS transitions are one tool we are given to manipulate elements on state changes or mouse events, and when combines […]

The post Easy CSS Animation With Transition & Transforms appeared first on Web Designer Wall – Design Trends and Tutorials.

2018 Graphic Design Trends + Inspirational Showcase

Original Source:

Every year, some design trends fade away while others burst onto the scene. This will be as true as ever in 2018, when visual contrast dominates the digital landscape and designers seek clarity and distinction, both subtle and bold.

What are the top graphic design trends of 2018?

Intersecting Elements
Duotone & Double Exposure
Retro-modern illustrations
Creative Background Patterns
Bright Gradients
Thoughtful Animations
Isometric Design
Split Page Design
Responsive Logos (see our responsive logo guide & logo design trends)
Extra Depth (with semi-flat design)
Dazzling duotones
80s & 90s color paletes & patterns
Animated Logos
Cinemagraphs & GIFs
Bold typography & more serifs
Custom graphics & illustration
Authentic photography
Detailed vintage

Read on for a more detailed description of 2018’s design trends forecast.

2018 Graphic Design Trends Infographic

2018 Design Trends

A huge thank you to Coastal Creative for the above design trends infographic.

Intersecting Elements

Categorize this under a version of bold typography, we’ve seen a huge upswing in typography that intersects with shapes and graphics. It’s a strong visual that plays with perspective and shows confidence.

Duotone & Double Exposure

The duotone look has been a recent favorite across many design mediums, but it reached mass exposure via Spotify and their playlist images. Since duotone has risen to prominence, we’ve been seeing further iterations that layer the effect with double exposure. We expect to be seeing a lot more of this trend in 2018.

Retro-modern illustrations

Can something be both retro and modern? Yes, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with this trend that combines the sleek lines of modern vectors with throw-back color palettes. Modern illustrations with retro-respect: the best of both worlds.

Creative Background Patterns

Like wallpaper going in and out of fashion in home design, we’re seeing a resurgence of patterned backgrounds. Think of it like the grown-up version of the tiled backgrounds you may have used to trick out your very first online profile. These are often whimsical icons or custom illustrations that take the design to a personal level.

Bright Gradients

Bright Gradients

This may have been continuing for a little while, but we’re seeing this trend diversifying and holding strong since it made a strong comeback in 2017. Designers are having fun experimenting with gradient innovations using bright colors and a variety of textures.

Thoughtful Animations

Online animations have come a long way since banner ads circa 1999 that aggressively flashed “Click Me!”. These are thoughtful movements built with intention, created to delight and signal interaction. We’re big fans and hope they won’t become overdone.

Isometric Design

Perhaps as a reaction to flat design taking over the design world in past years, isometric design is making a strong comeback. Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions.

Split Page Design

As an evolution of the now-stale hero image concept, split design juxtaposes contrasting elements for a striking effect that shows multiplicity. We embrace this fresh change for its great design and usefulness.

The below trends were outlined in 99Design’s inspirational 2018 graphic design trends post.

Responsive Logos

See here for a detailed guide to responsive logos.

Responsive Logo Trend


Gradient Trend

By Anton Avilov

Bright Gradients

by Yueyuan design.

80s & 90s color pallets & patterns

80s 90s Trend

80s Website

By Daria Kwon.

Movement: animations, GIFs, cinemagraphs


By Kit8.

Cinemagraph Trend

Dazzling duotones

Duotones Trend

By Spotify.

Extra Depth (with semi-flat design)

Subtle Depth

UI Depth

Bold typography & more serifs

Bold Type

By Nuture Digital.

Bold Type

By Vasjen Katro.

Custom graphics & illustration

Custom Illustration

By Willie H

Game of Thrones Illustration

By Alexandr Alexandrov

Authentic photography

Original Photography Trend

YOKO by Tom Arends for Bert

Authentic Photography

By Yeti.

Detailed Modern Vintage

Detailed Vintage

By DekoRatio and Szani Mészáros.

Beer Vintage

By Oscar Bastidas

Do you have any further graphic design trends to add?

Artist names have been supplied where known. Top hammer image by Steve Bullock.

Recruiting Engineers Who Aren’t Scared to Talk to People

Original Source:

We believe to be a good citizen of the developer and open source community is to hire good engineers for One Mighty Roar. This means engineers that can build utility apps like Lantern, connected device platforms like Robin, and hardware projects like Tableduino.

Rules for hiring

When we started, we made the decision to only hire engineers who were fully capable of interacting well with fellow engineers, but can also confidently talk to clients and present at events. Here’s how we we hire tech people with a personality:

Research before setting up an interview

We look at what you have built, who knows you, how you are to work with, what reputation you have, and if folks think you are curious and engaging. We prefer doing it the hard way – talking to people, expanding out networks, looking for talent where many don’t, and ignoring resumes. There are no shortcuts to recruiting exceptional people.

Interviews are free flowing conversations.

We don’t believe in traditional interviews and industry techniques. We want you to do extensive research on us (including diving deep into our GitHub and Dribbble), play with our apps and sites, look at individual Twitter accounts.

Hire makers

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a junior apprentice or an experienced engineer, even non-technical team members should be able to describe you as a “maker”. It shows in your open-source contributions, blogging, and many examples of applications and/or other things you have built and released.

Hire adults

Being an adult doesn’t have much to do with your age, but rather your attitude toward other people, sense of responsibility, and respect for the company. Also, if you are above pitching in to stock the fridge, cleanup, load the dishwasher, or keeping your work areas in respectable shape, these are warning signs to us.

Add people who can add another point of view

Since we are a product development company, monolithic thinking is simply not compatible with our business model. Caveat: you have to be just as comfortable sharing your insights as diving deep into how other members of the team and our clients think.

Look for people with a personal goal

Look for people who are clear on how they want to grow professionally, and who care deeply about personal “brand”. You’re the one that creates the roadmap. The company is just a tool for your growth.

Hire those who grew up aspiring to be an engineer

As we interview, we try to dig deep into when your passion for the craft started, who were your role models, and who inspires you. Those who became engineers because there is money to be made, are not for us.

Find people who can manage your own time, distractions, and workload

You need to find time to work out, eat a proper meal, and take the time-off. You also don’t require monastic environment, because we are not the kind of place.

Hire for the “after 5 o’clock” personality

We pride ourselves on a professional and respectful work environment where you don’t have to put on “corporate face”. That is an unnecessary overhead for a company comprised of genuinely nice, fun, and respectful people.

Strong team, strong company

We fully understand our methodology is not for everyone, but we strongly believe this is something that is allowing us to scale sustainably while handling a large number of projects. This hiring approach is part of what’s allowed us to remain self-funded four years in. The right team makes a company resilient.

Coding with Dyspraxia: If I Can Do It, so Can You

Original Source:

Coding with Dyspraxia

As I start writing this blog, I’ve just spent the last hour on a cold November afternoon getting to grips with Saving Instance state in Android.

It was a lot of fun, challenging but fun. After watching the video a couple of times, I’m beginning to get more of a handle on what’s involved. And after testing the result,  I’ve seen that the Android Lifecycle saves the “state” of the app when I rotate the screen so even though Android creates a new instance of the app it appears to the user that nothing has changed at all.

After this, I feel empowered. This is why I spend so much time learning about new tech. The feeling of learning and understanding something new is very exciting and I’m at the top of my game.

Then, I move on to something new and I don’t know where the knowledge goes. It’s not that its “gone”, exactly, more like it’s just parked somewhere in my brain that can’t retrieve the information and I feel like I’m back to square one.

I’m Jonathan and I’ve been a Treehouse student and Community Moderator for over 3 years. You may recognize my name from a previous post on the Treehouse blog in which I shared my experience with Dyspraxia. Today, I want to talk to you about the difficulties of learning tech for neurodiverse people like me and a few techniques I use to get over those barriers.

I live in England where 5% – 10% of the UK population are estimated to have Dyspraxia. That’s 3 children in every class of 30. It’s a lifelong brain-based condition that basically means messages in the brain are “muddled” when they try to get to where they need to be. It’s a minor form of brain damage but described as an “immaturity of the way the brain transmits information”. This causes a number of challenges such as problems with movements, tasks, speech, and language and the main problem for me, perception and thought.

Coding with Dyspraxia is a difficult thing indeed. The conundrum I described above with Android is common for me and may well be for others but I feel and live with these issues every day.

Overcoming barriers

Now, I would like to explain what this means for me in terms of coding, the techniques I use to get past my problems and hopefully inspire others who have a similar condition to me.

Dyspraxia is like fog in my mind. I don’t really sit down and type code on the fly in the way I perceive (perhaps wrongly) other coders do. I think methodically, use frameworks where possible and break down projects into stages. In my life, I have always taken each day as it comes.

I need to see code to write it and I spend as much time thinking as I do coding. It doesn’t seem to matter how experienced I become with programming concepts. For example, I have worked with WordPress long enough and have coded the WordPress Loop countless times, but I still don’t remember it from scratch. However, I recognize it when I see it and I know how to implement it.

It’s not about not understanding what I’ve been taught; it’s about what my brain does with the understanding.

Now I do this a lot. I look at a problem before me or a project that I’m about to begin and it seems like the goal is at the top of a massive mountain, followed by the unshakeable thought that I’m not good enough for the job.

When this happens it is because I’m making comparisons to others; Treehouse teachers, students, my peers who are in similar jobs to me. This is a folly and a folly I’m still trying to teach myself to get around. I recently read a tweet from @CodePenHull about a talk by Treehouse alumni Andrew Chalkey and thought: could I learn to do that someday to0? How can I learn to do these things and retain the knowledge do to another similar project? How do people retain their programming knowledge?

Visual thinker

I’m very much a visual thinker in this respect. When I’m developing with Sass for example, I like to write out CSS and then convert to Sass rather than go straight into writing Sass. So I’ll prepare a Sass configuration file and break up the code into partial files.

Doing it this way means I can quickly use my CSS knowledge to put something visual into the browser and then I can visualize how the Sass is going to work in my mind. It allows me to take away the blank canvas issue and build the code from lines and lines of CSS to a more professional project.

I also spend a lot of time inspecting elements behind the scenes and even testing new styles via the browsers development tools (my favorite being Chrome DevTools). I would encourage others to do the same.

I try and take the same approach when I’m learning programming.

Some encouragement for you all

Lastly, I want to encourage the rest of you – especially if you have a learning difficulty like Dyslexia or Dyspraxia – who are struggling with your confidence. This post of mine in the Treehouse Community received a lot of positive feedback. In it, I describe the 5 things I remind myself when studying to make myself better at coding: learn to code from memory, keep code snippets, remember concepts, ask for help and take time to practice.

I know I get down at times when I’m trying to learn code and sometimes even wonder why I’m putting myself through it, and I’ll probably go through that cycle again… But if I can keep up my resolve and determination and if I can learn to code, I’m pretty sure you all can too.

I hope this post has been helpful and encouraging. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you would like to see some of Jonnie’s projects and follow his progress, check out his awesome portfolio here. Or if you’d like to learn about Dyspraxia, you can also read more here. 

The post Coding with Dyspraxia: If I Can Do It, so Can You appeared first on Treehouse Blog.

Webinar recap: Creating customized training programs

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Deciding on a curriculum can be the hardest part of starting a new training program, especially when the topics covered are highly technical and need to fit your business’s specific tech stack. That’s why we dedicated an entire webinar to help you define and build customized curriculums.

If you couldn’t make it to the webinar, don’t worry – you can catch the on-demand recording of it here.


Matt Krzyzynski, our Customer Success Manager, and Matt Moss, our Product Manager, hosted the webinar, where they clarified why custom curriculums can seem daunting, but are ultimately easier to maintain in the long run. Because technology is always evolving, your technical training curriculum needs to be able to adapt to changes in your tech stack and help your teams take advantage of new digital tools. Customizing curriculums puts you in control of the content learners interact with and helps you use their time efficiently, while training them in only the tools and skills you need them to learn.


Matt Krzyzynski works with Treehouse customers every day, helping them to define their training programs. During the webinar, he gave real-life examples of the custom tracks he’s built tailored to solve the unique problems that each business is trying to solve with their training programs. By grouping the examples into three common problems, he makes it easy to see exactly what the hurdles were, and how we recommend solving them with best practices, alternate tiering or pacing solutions, and training in specific topics. At the end, Matt Moss outlined your next steps and shared a handy worksheet for you to use as you build your training programs and create your tailored technical curriculum.

If you’re interested in hearing how we solve three of the most common problems our customers are trying to solve for with their training programs, see real-life curriculum examples, or want access to the training program worksheet, watch the full webinar here.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to register for the last live webinar in our series, where we’ll cover how to structure your technical training programs to support your learning goals and desired outcomes.

Webinar series: How to launch an effective technical training program

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